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Matthew Freedman’s Fantasy Football Rankings & Start/Sit Advice (Week 3)

Sep 22, 2022
Matthew Freedman's Fantasy Football Rankings & Start/Sit Advice (Week 3)

Here are my fantasy football rankings for Week 3. You can find our expert consensus fantasy football rankings for the week here. And you can also sync your fantasy football league for free using our My Playbook tool for custom advice, rankings, and analysis. And below you can find start/sit advice around some of the players I’m targeting this week.

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

Check out the rest of our weekly fantasy football advice >>

Fantasy Football Week 3 Rankings

Fantasy Football Week 3 Start/Sit Advice

Quarterbacks

Kirk Cousins (MIN) vs. DET: In his four years with the Vikings, Cousins has three 4,000-yard, 30-touchdown seasons. He’s monstrously underappreciated … perhaps because he’s so boring.

It also doesn’t help that he just threw three interceptions on Monday Night Football — but the Lions are the perfect bounceback team to face: They’re No. 3 in most FPPG allowed to quarterbacks (26.3), and they might have the league’s worst pair of perimeter cover men in CBs Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye. The Vikings have a slate-high implied total of 30 points in our Week 3 DFS Cheat Sheet.

Check out our DFS lineup optimizer, which is just one of our many FantasyPros DFS tools.

Carson Wentz (WAS) vs. PHI: Wentz has a league-high 10 pass attempts of 20-plus yards downfield (per our Advanced QB Stats Report) as well as back-to-back games with 300 yards and multiple touchdowns passing. He could have a pass-heavy game script as a +4 underdog (at BetMGM) in the long-awaited #RevengeGame against his former team.

Hamlet: “How all occasions do inform against me and spur my dull revenge. What is a man, if his chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more. Witness this army of such mass and charge, led by a delicate and tender prince, whose spirit with divine ambition puffed makes mouths at the invisible event, exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death, and danger dare, even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great is not to stir without great argument, but greatly to find quarrel in a straw when honor’s at the stake. Oh, from this time forth, my thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!”

Marcus Mariota (ATL) at SEA: Although the Falcons are 0-2, they have scored 26.5 points per game, and Mariota has racked up a better-than-bad 411-2-2 passing and 18-88-1 rushing against two good defenses (Saints, Rams). He has a notable edge against the Seahawks defense and secondary in our FantasyPros unit power rankings.

RANK QUARTERBACK OFFENSE OPP DEFENSE DEFENSE RANK SECONDARY RANK QB-DEF EDGE QB-SEC EDGE
24 Marcus Mariota ATL SEA 30 32 6 8

The Seahawks defense is No. 32 in dropback EPA (0.400). Earning 26% of his fantasy production via rushing yardage (tied for No. 2 with Jalen Hurts, per our Fantasy Football Points Distribution Report), Mariota has a high Konami Code ceiling/floor combination.

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) at DEN: Since joining the 49ers in 2017, Garoppolo is No. 4 with a 0.144 EPA + CPOE — behind only Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees and Deshaun Watson and directly ahead of Aaron Rodgers — and last year he was No. 4 with an 8.1 AY/A. In the secondary, the Broncos could be without No. 1 CB Patrick Surtain (shoulder) and will definitely be without No. 1 S Justin Simmons (quad, IR). The 49ers are +1 underdogs (at Caesars) …

… but Garoppolo has consistently outperformed expectations when getting points.

Running Backs

Kareem Hunt (CLE) vs. PIT: Even with No. 1 RB Nick Chubb dominating opponents, Hunt has managed in each of the past two games to carve out 15 carries and targets combined, which he has leveraged into 144 yards and two touchdowns. Given that the Steelers are without All-Pro EDGE T.J. Watt (pectoral), the Browns backs have a significant matchup edge in our unit power rankings.

RANK RBS OPP DEFENSE DL RANK LBS RANK RB-DL EDGE RB-LB EDGE
1 CLE PIT 15 21 14 20

Both Chubb and Hunt can go off in Week 3.

Miles Sanders (PHI) at WAS: Over the past two weeks, Sanders had snap rates of just 52% and 53%, and that’s not great, but he still amassed 30 carries and five targets for 191 yards and a touchdown — and that’s good enough. The Commanders are No. 2 in most FPPG allowed to opposing backfields (26.3). This is a random third sentence, just because.

James Robinson (JAX) at LAC: Robinson has a great matchup against a Chargers defense that last year ranked No. 32 in rush defense SR (47.2%), and he has dominated usage in the Jaguars backfield, totaling 147 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries and four targets.

To my eye, Robinson looks unspeakably slow in his post-Achilles state …

… but he has always been slow — and that didn’t stop him from putting up 2,403 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first two seasons as an undrafted free agent.

Jeff Wilson (SF) at DEN: No. 1 RB Elijah Mitchell (knee, IR) exited Week 1 early and in his absence Wilson had 105 yards on 18 carries and two targets in Week 2. Other than Wilson and FB Kyle Juszczyk, rookie RB Tyrion Davis-Price was the only other 49ers back to get a touch — but now Davis-Price (ankle) and running QB Trey Lance (ankle, IR) are out, so Wilson could dominate backfield usage in Week 3. In his 11 career games with 15-plus opportunities, Wilson has averaged 17.1 FPPG (per FTN).

Jamaal Williams (DET) at MIN: I’m currently nine spots higher than the consensus on Williams in our Dissenting Opinions Tool, but I’m fine with the divergence. He’s just the No. 2 back, but Williams has a league-high seven carries inside the 10-yard line (per Andrew Erickson’s Usage Report) as well as a respectable 13 opportunities (carries plus targets) in each of the past two weeks. The Vikings defense is No. 32 in rush SR (53.2%) and rush DVOA (30.7%).

Check out my Week 3 early betting breakdown on Lions at Vikings.

Dameon Pierce (HOU) at CHI: After splitting carries with veteran Rex Burkhead in Week 1, Pierce was the only Texans back to get a carry in Week 2, transforming his 15 carries into a nice 69 yards and adding eight yards on one target. The Bears defense is No. 31 in rush SR (51.4%).

Tony Pollard (DAL) at NYG: Coming off his 1,056-yard campaign last year, Pollard disappointed in Week 1 with only 22 yards on eight opportunities, but he flipped the switch in Week 2, converting his nine carries and seven targets into 98 yards and an “Ezekiel Elliott can’t do this” touchdown.

Last year the Giants defense was No. 32 in rush DVOA (2.7%), and in Week 3 they could be without three defensive line starters in EDGEs Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) and Azeez Ojulari (calf) and DT Leonard Williams (knee).

Raheem Mostert (MIA) vs. BUF: The Dolphins are +5.5 underdogs (at FOX Bet), so they’re not likely to have a run-heavy game script, but even though they trailed 28-7 at halftime in Week 2 they still gave Mostert 11 carries and three targets, which he converted into 79 yards. Mostert might not play ahead of Chase Edmonds every week, but as of now he looks like the lead back on a team averaging 31 points per game.

Tyler Allgeier (ATL) at SEA: I’m skeptical about Allgeier for the long term, but last week he tied No. 1 RB Cordarrelle Patterson with 10 carries in a game in which the Falcons trailed 28-3 in the third quarter. If you’re desperate and looking for a guy who at least has a chance to get some touches, he might be your Allguy … er.

Wide Receivers

Drake London (ATL) at SEA: Entering the NFL, London had everything I’d want in a rookie receiver, given his size (6-4, 219 pounds), age (21 years old), NFL draft capital (No. 8 overall) and college production (88-1,084-7 receiving in eight games as a junior). At the time, I compared him to Larry Fitzgerald and Mike Evans, and through two NFL games he has lived up to the hype with 13-160-1 receiving on 19 targets (and a 2-point conversion). The Seahawks defense is No. 30 in pass DVOA (47.2%): London could go off.

Curtis Samuel (WAS) vs. PHI: Samuel is at risk of tweaking a hamstring every time he steps onto the field, but when he’s healthy — fully healthy — he has impressed. While his 2021 season was a lost campaign plagued by injuries, in 2020 he had 1,051 yards and five touchdowns on 97 targets and 41 carries, and Samuel has brought that same playmaking ability to bear this year with 171 yards and two touchdowns on a team-high 20 targets and five carries. With that kind of usage, matchup doesn’t matter.

Tyler Lockett (SEA) vs. ATL: It’s not enough for me to highlight just one Seahawks receiver. Given that they haven’t scored a touchdown in six quarters, I must touch on another one. Lockett impressed with 9-107-0 receiving on 11 targets last week, and he has averaged 1,081 scrimmage yards per year over the past four seasons. The Falcons defense is No. 30 in dropback SR (56.6%).

Garrett Wilson (NYJ) vs. CIN: In Week 1, Wilson earned eight targets, but he had just 52 scoreless yards. In Week 2, the first-rounder’s performance was thoroughly unmixed: A delicious 8-102-2 receiving on 14 targets. With an NFL-high seven targets inside the 10-yard line (per our Red Zone Stats Report), Wilson has the potential to produce as both a touchdown scorer and a yardage accumulator.

Chris Olave (NO) at CAR: In Week 2, Olave led the NFL with six deep targets of 20-plus yards — and that number honestly feels low after digging into his usage.

Through two games, Olave has almost matched No. 1 WR Michael Thomas in routes (75 to 73), targets (17 to 16) and yards receiving (122 to 121). The breakout is a question of when, not if.

Jahan Dotson (WAS) vs. PHI: Through two games, Dotson has lined up all across the formation (59 snaps wide right, 45 in the slot, 37 wide left), and he has been the No. 4 wide receiver in the NFL with 141 snaps played (per our Snap Count Report). He hasn’t dominated with only 10 targets — but he has leveraged those opportunities into 9.9 yards per target and three touchdowns. His upside is significant.

Russell Gage (TB) vs. GB: The Buccaneers might be without No. 1 WR Mike Evans (suspension), No. 2 WR Chris Godwin (hamstring, knee) and No. 3 WR Julio Jones (knee). In the words of Benedick: “The world must be peopled.” Perhaps Gage and QB Tom Brady will people it with touchdowns.

Julio Jones (TB) vs. GB: The odds are high that both No. 1 WR Mike Evans (suspension) and No. 2 WR Chris Godwin (hamstring, knee) will be out — but Jones (knee) might play after practicing last week on Friday and getting a questionable (instead of a doubtful) injury designation. In Week 1 he had a nice 3-69-0 receiving on five targets (as well as 2-17-0 rushing). In the words of the poet …

I hurt myself today,
To see if I still feel.

If you haven’t felt the pain of starting an injured Jones in any given fantasy season, are you even alive?

Joshua Palmer (LAC) vs. JAX: No. 1 WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) missed Week 2, and in his absence Palmer was a predictable 4-30-1 receiving on eight targets.

If Allen is once again out, Palmer will be in line for a similar role, and in his five games with a snap rate of at least 60% he has put up 10.8 FPPG with an average of 6.8 targets.

Treylon Burks (TEN) vs. LV: Despite ranking No. 4 on the Titans with 30 routes and No. 6 with 31 pass play snaps, Burks is No. 1 on the team with 11 targets, seven receptions and 102 yards receiving. His 96.8% route per snap rate, 36.7% target per route rate and 9.3 yards per target speak to his overall playmaking ability. The Raiders defense is No. 26 in dropback SR (50.5%).

Noah Brown (DAL) at NYG: The Cowboys will likely need to throw as road underdogs (+2.5 at Sugar House), and Brown has been the No. 2 wide receiver on the Cowboys through two weeks with 113 snaps, 71 routes and 14 targets … and he has actually outproduced No. 1 WR CeeDee Lamb with 10-159-1 receiving. He could be the No. 2 option yet once more if WRs Michael Gallup (knee) and Jalen Tolbert (inactive) are out. In our FantasyPros unit power rankings, we give the Cowboys pass catchers a significant edge over the Giants secondary.

Rank WRs & TEs Opp Secondary Secondary Rank Edge
18 DAL NYG 27 9

Richie James (NYG) vs. DAL: No. 1 WR Kadarius Toney has just three targets on the season. No. 2 WR Kenny Golladay played just two snaps in Week 2 and looks like he could be on the outs with the team.

Slot WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) left Week 1 early and didn’t play in Week 2. As a result, James is No. 1 on the Giants with 10 receptions and 110 yards and No. 2 with 12 targets. For his career, James has a strong 11.3 yards per target, so he at least has some theoretical upside. He’s a desperation play — but sometimes the only option is the best option.

Tight Ends

Tyler Higbee (LAR) at ARI: Higbee has a position-high 20 targets, which he has leveraged into a respectable 12 receptions and 110 yards. And the Cardinals defense has allowed an NFL-high 24.4 FPPG to tight ends this year. There’s no way this ends well for Higbee investors — but this is a perfect setup.

Hayden Hurst (CIN) at NYJ: Hurst is No. 3 on the team with 90 routes and No. 2 with 15 targets and 10 receptions. The Jets defense last year was No. 31 in pass DVOA against tight ends (26.7%). If I cared enough about this blurb, this is where I’d write a third sentence.

Evan Engram (JAX) at LAC: Even though he has a snap rate of just 70.2%, Engram — compared to WRs Marvin Jones and Zay Jones — is functionally the co-No. 2 receiver for the Jaguars on the basis of routes (61 vs. 68, 66), targets (12 vs. 11, 13) and yards receiving (74 vs. 71, 88). Last year, the Chargers defense allowed the most FPGG to tight ends (10.9).

Tyler Conklin (NYJ) vs. CIN: The Jets have an NFL-high 103 pass attempt with QB Joe Flacco, who is starting once again in Week 3, and TE C.J. Uzomah (hamstring) missed Week 2 with a doubtful injury designation and is uncertain to play this week. With his every-down role (95.5% snap rate), Conklin is No. 2 on the Jets with 92 routes and 16 targets, which he has leveraged into a respectable 10-56-1 receiving.

Juwan Johnson (NO) at CAR: So the Johnson thing seems to be real. On the basis of routes and targets, Johnson (65, 12) is in the same peer group with starting WRs Michael Thomas (75, 17), Chris Olave (73, 16) and Jarvis Landry (68, 14). Johnson — not Taysom Hill, and not Adam Trautman — is the receiving tight end for the Saints, and he has 83 yards on six receptions. A hungry human won’t mind the taste of that bread.

 

CTAs

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